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Murder on the Orient Express
by Agatha Christie
Murder on the Orient Express Part 2, Chapter 1 Summary
The Evidence of the Wagon Lit Conductor M. Bouc sets up Poirot in the restaurant car with a plan of the coach, passports, tickets, etc. With that, the "Court of Inquiry" begins (2.1.5). First up is Pierre Michel, the conductor who was on duty the night of the murder. M. Bouc tells us that he's a Frenchman and longtime employee of the company. Michel is also not particularly bright. Poirot goes through the routine questions, and then gets to the good stuff. We get the conductor's timeline: Mr. Ratchett went to bed after dinner. The only people who went into the compartment after that were his secretary, MacQueen, and his valet. Ratchett rang his bell at about 12:40 a.m. Ratchett said, in French, that he rang by mistake. Michel then went back to his seat at the end of the corridor. He did go to the Athens coach for a bit to chat about the snow, but he returned when the bells rang. Michel saw the Colonel and MacQueen chatting in MacQueen's compartment no later than 2 a.m. Michel also says he saw a lady going to the toilet, but he doesn't know who it was. He noticed that she wore a "kimono of scarlet with dragons on it" (2.1.60). Also, Michel did not see anything fall against Poirot's door. Perhaps the thumping sound could have come from Ratchett's compartment, next door? He confirms that at the stop at Vincovi he stood on the platform. The forward door is usually fastened, but it is not so now. Michel is surprised. Michel also tells Poirot who it was that summoned him while he was knocking on Ratchett's door: Princess Dragomiroff. Poirot tells him that he hasn't done anything wrong, and lets him go.
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